The Tanzanian national airline that was grounded for months is due to return to the skies over Tanzania on Tuesday this week. After a massive bailout from government – money which should have been spent to buy shares in Precision Air, according to a well placed source in Dar es Salaam – which helped to clear long overdue maintenance bills for the Bombardier Q 300 plane, the airline eventually managed to get their AOC restored and will resume flights tomorrow.
Tabora and Kigoma will be the first destinations ATCL will service from Dar es Salaam and their loads will be keenly monitored by aviation analysts, their competitors and this correspondent to determine if at all the company can make a success out of it or not.
Sources in Tanzania, highly critical of the government’s hot and cold attitude towards private enterprise, say the government should have spent their bail out money to acquire a significant share in Precision Air which only last Friday concluded a 3 week IPO, to take a stake in a viable and well run airline worthy of flying the Tanzanian flag into the region and beyond, but ‘some of our politicians are still rooted in the mindset of the 70’s and the idea of the total government’s influence over business. Then again, in the past government failed to give ATCL the money they needed when it was needed, leading to its temporary closure. Will that change considering that now the money is ever tighter? This is a case of political patronage, misguided national pride, when there is nothing to be proud about and a mere window dress ahead of our 50 years of Independence.
The airline submitted an ambitious business plan to the government last week, the latest in a long line of business plans, all of which failed for a variety of reasons, in a probable sign of how gullible officials can be when they wish something to happen against the flow of reality.
That all said, Happy Landings nevertheless to ATCL, its single plane and their crews and passengers from here onwards.